Africa News blog

African business, politics and lifestyle

A tale of two Africas

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Good news and bad news for Africa from the latest take on global risks from the World Economic Forum. Not much danger for most of the continent, it says, from an asset bubble burst. That’s the good. The bad, of course, is that this is because there are not many financial assets to bubble. In fact, it deems the overall exposure even to economic risks is small because African economies are not particularly tied in to global markets.

Actually, the report shows that there are two Africas. Mapped by their susceptibility for economic and asset bubble trouble, most African countries are bunched together in a low risk range. But another, smaller cluster, including Nigeria and South Africa, finds itself in much more peril and shares space on the WEF risk map with Western and Eastern Europe.

Good news, in a contradictory sort of way.

What next for Jacob Zuma?

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A court ruling that effectively reinstates corruption charges against African National Congress leader Jacob Zuma could hardly have come at a worse moment for him and the party that has dominated South Africa since the end of apartheid.

There appears little doubt that Zuma will be the party’s presidential candidate ahead of elections expected around April, but the ANC now faces its toughest electoral test yet with hefty graft charges hanging over its man.

How far will South Africa’s ANC shift?

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Given that the leaders of the world’s most firmly capitalist countries are splashing around unprecedented billions to nationalise banks, prop up industry and try to get economies moving, it might seem churlish for anyone to question South Africa’s ruling ANC for planning to spend a bit more freely.

This weekend, the African National Congress set out its election manifesto priorities of creating jobs and improving education and health – promises interpreted by many as marking a generally leftward shift under the leadership of president in waiting Jacob Zuma.

from Global News Journal:

Should the ANC be worried?

There was jubilation, defiance and a sense of history in the making in this farming community this week when some 4,000 South Africans gathered to lay the groundwork for what may be a seismic shift in the political landscape.

It is too early to say whether the birth of the Congress of the People will be the political equivalent of an earthquake or a minor tremor. But there is no denying that the new political party caught the nation's attention with the inaugural conference in Bloemfontein.

from Global News Journal:

Zimbabwe sinking fast

From a distance it is always hard to picture just how hard life is in Zimbabwe and to imagine how much worse it can get. For so long we have been writing about economic collapse, inflation statistics beyond comprehension, the fact that at least a quarter of the country has fled to seek work abroad and that life expectancy has tumbled.

Commentators have long spoken of the dangers of a possible ‘meltdown’. The signs of what that might look like have grown stronger this week.

Should developing world have more say in crisis talks?

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When world leaders meet in Washington to tackle the global financial crisis, Africa will be represented only by South Africa.

 

African officials meeting in Tunis this week to discuss the impact of the crisis argued that the continent needed better representation, given the effects that the turmoil is having in Africa as well as the continent’s growing financial importance. The complaint could apply equally to other developing countries.

Motlanthe greeted with relief, but South Africa’s problems are not over

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Kgalema Motlanthe takes the oath of office as South Africa’s president in Cape TownSouth Africans have widely greeted new President Kgalema Motlanthe, many of them with a sense of relief after the bitter and divisive power struggle between his ousted predecessor Thabo Mbeki and Jacob Zuma, leader of the ruling African National Congress.

Motlanthe, quiet spoken and dignified, struck exactly the note the public were looking for when he took office, sober but smiling gently – a huge contrast to the theatrical ebullience of Zuma and the aloof, intellectual style of Mbeki, who was seen as arrogant and out of touch with his people.

Can Africa beat corruption?

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cpi_2008_cmyk-africa.jpgTransparency International’s annual corruption report card is out and there is little surprise that many African countries are well towards the bottom of the Corruption Perceptions Index.

Somalia is at 180 out of 180. Six of the 10 worst offenders are African states. The best placed African country, Botswana, is at 36 (up from 38 last year).

Can Bafana live up to World Cup host team billing?

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blatter_khoza.jpgThere were the predictable platitudes from Sepp Blatter in South Africa this week, expressing satisfaction with the pace of construction of the country’s top stadia ahead of its hosting if the 2010 World Cup finals.

But there was little Swiss diplomacy on display from the FIFA president when dealing with the issue of the country’s national team, Bafana Bafana, whose rapid decline over the last years is now a major source of concern.

How quickly can Zimbabweans expect economic change?

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zimbabwe_talks_handshake.jpgFor Zimbabwe’s long-suffering people, the true meaning of the signing of a power-sharing agreement between President Robert Mugabe’s ZANU-PF and the opposition MDC would be how quickly it leads to an improvement in their daily lives. An economic crisis that began in 1998 has turned the once prosperous Southern African country into a basket case economy with the world’s highest inflation at over 11 million percent. Millions of Zimbabwean’s who have fled across the borders to escape unemployment and severe shortages are waiting to see if the political deal will result in economic rebound paving the way for their return.

The agreement negotiated by South African President Thabo Mbeki provides for the sharing of power between veteran President Robert Mugabe and Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Tsvangirai takes on the new role of Prime Minister with extensive powers, with Mugabe’s 28-year hold on power significantly eroded.

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